Pa drives Laura 12 miles in the snow to the Brewster shanty so she can teach school. 

This is rather a bleak chapter - how did you feel after reading it?


In what was was Pa supportive when dropping her off? Should he have gone inside to ease her in or was it best that he left quickly?

How is Mrs. Brewster's home different than Caroline (Ma) Ingalls'?

What do you think of Mr. Brewster?

Why do you think Mrs. Brewster is so angry?

Why did Laura describe her sleeping sofa as a "boughten" sofa?

Have you ever lived far away from home in someone else's house while doing work for them?

-Carrie

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Replies to This Discussion

I think Pa should have checked the situation out before leaving her so far away with strangers. I can't imagine doing that. Laura is very capable but who knows how these people will treat her. He would have been able to at least get a feeling about it by going in for a few minutes.Yikes

I totally agree with you! He should have at least gone into the house and met the family. Especially with all the weird things the Ingalls have seen during their prairie moves.

Definitely a bleak chapter - my heart ached for little 15 year old sheltered Laura!

Grace



Barbie said:

I think Pa should have checked the situation out before leaving her so far away with strangers. I can't imagine doing that. Laura is very capable but who knows how these people will treat her. He would have been able to at least get a feeling about it by going in for a few minutes.Yikes

I really felt so sad for Laura in this chapter. She was young, had never been away from home before, and about to teach school, which she had never done. (I'll talk about relating to the apprehension of teaching in the next chapter!) I think Pa was supportive at the time -- things were different then -- but it would have been nice for him to go inside to make her more at ease. It's never easy staying with strangers, but having someone you know there at first would help. 

I think the Brewster home is very different in that there is no communication among the family, whereas the Ingalls parents work together to create a loving home. It sounds like Mr. Brewster didn't even consult his wife before moving West, or even before agreeing to "board the teacher", which made her resentful and sullen. Pa, however, does talk with and consult Ma on important issues, so she feels like her voice is heard and included in family decisions. I do feel sorry for Mr. Brewster, however; he is trying his best to make Laura feel welcome. 

I'm not sure why Laura described it as a "boughten sofa". The way she described it seemed like it was a fancy sofa. Maybe to emphasize that it was an unusual sofa for that time and location, or that no matter how much money one has, they can't buy happiness? 

For a couple summers in high school I babysat my cousins and stayed at my aunt's house (over an hour away). I was staying with family, but it definitely felt a little funny at first. 

Bleak is a good way to describe this chapter. Pa probably should have met the Brewsters, but perhaps by not going in, he was hoping to build her confidence, encourage her, and show her that he believed in her ability to master this new challenge.

Mrs. Brewster's home is filled with strife, malice, and dissension whereas Ma fills her home with love, humility, and nurturing.

I wonder if Mr. Brewster is like Nels Olseon on the show. :)  I like that he tries to be kind to Laura. 

Mrs. Brewster is probably angry because she doesn't know the Lord. She is focused not on love for her husband or son, but on herself.

Perhaps the sofa was indeed "boughten" and absent was the homey touch. Pa carved special designs and built Ma furniture he knew she would like. Ma added designs in butter and put a table cloth on the table and decorated with her China doll on the shelf.

I lived away from home to work during an internship, but I stayed with my Grandma and I loved her dearly. It was wonderful. :)

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